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October 31, 2005

Epic Battle Set as Bush Picks Alito

President Bush nominated Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN reports. Nicknamed "Scalito," after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, the choice is sure to start a major battle in the U.S. Senate over his confirmation.

Over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) warned Bush over the weekend not to pick Alito, the New York Times notes. Said Reid: "I think it would create a lot of problems."

PoliPundit counts the votes and finds 50 to confirm Alito. However, the more important count is whether the Democrats have the votes to force a filibuster. The key senators to watch are those of the Gang of 14.

Furthermore, with the Bush administration operating in crisis mode -- and midterm elections just one year away -- it's not clear Bush has much ability to force fence sitters to vote for Alito. As we noted before, the reaction to a new nominee during the first few hours are the most important predictor of confirmation. Initial reaction is that Democrats will fight hard.

For more background on Judge Alito, Think Progress details some of his more controversial opinions and the AP runs a very good profile.


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